Metallica's Lars Ulrich discusses whether he could play drums for Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Rush: "2112 would probably be too much of a bite of the apple for me"

Lars Ulrich drumming on stage
(Image credit: Steve Jennings/WireImage via Getty)

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has discussed his recent performance behind the kit at the epic Taylor Hawkins tribute shows in London and Los Angeles earlier this year. In London, Ulrich drummed behind Brian Johnson and members of Foo Fighters to jam AC/DC's Back In Black and Let There Be Rock, while in LA a couple of weeks later, he teamed up with Geezer Butler, Sebastian Bach and the Foos to smash out a couple of Black Sabbath classics.

Speaking on SiriusXM's The Howard Stern Show last week (Monday November 28), Ulrich spoke fondly of the experience, saying (as reported by Blabbermouth): "Dave Grohl called me three or four months ago and asked me if I would partake in the Taylor Hawkins tribute shows at Wembley and at the L.A. Forum, and, obviously, before he was done explaining it, I just said, 'Yes, Dave. I'll be there. Just tell me what you want and I'll show up with bells and whistles on.'

"Playing with Grohl and the other three Foo Fighters guys...at Wembley we did, with Brian Johnson, the AC/DC singer, we did an AC/DC set, and it was so much fucking fun to play," he stated, later adding: "And then in L.A., a couple of weeks later, we did a Black Sabbath medley with Geezer Butler, O.G. bass player and absolutely one of the geniuses of the early days of hard rock and metal, we did a couple of Black Sabbath songs. So it was great fun to go do that."

Rush members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson also played the two tribute shows, with various drummers filling in for Neil Pert, who passed away in 2020. At one point in the Howard Stern Show interview, Ulrich expresses doubt at being the best choice to have played with Rush for those songs had he been asked, noting: "I love Rush...if they had said, 'Come up and play 2112 with Alex and Geddy', I'd go, 'I think there's somebody more qualified to do that than me.'"

When host Stern asks Ulrich if he thinks he could actually play Rush songs live, Ulrich replies: "Could I do it? Obviously, playing with Alex and Geddy would be incredible. Some of the guys, Chad Smith played and Dave played a couple of songs. It would be an uphill thing. It would take a lot of rehearsal, a lot of prep. 2112 would probably be too much of a bite of the apple for me. But in terms of just feeling comfortable, and kind of doing the thing that exists sort of where I am, that AC/DC stuff is right in my fucking pocket. And I love that so much."

When Stern suggests that Ulrich could certainly play Led Zeppelin songs with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page should the opportunity ever arise, Ulrich concurs, replying: "I could do some of that, yeah. I could do the Deep Purple stuff, definitely do the Sabbath stuff. Obviously, I've studied all three of those for close to 50 years now, so that's definitely in the wheelhouse. The first band I ever saw was Deep Purple. When I was nine years old, I went and bought a Deep Purple album the next morning. And Black Sabbath came soon after. Zeppelin was there also, but primarily Deep Purple and Sabbath. So when I say I've studied it, it's just been there for 45, 50 years for me."

Metallica recently announced new album 72 Seasons, alongside the release of a brand new single, Lux Æterna, the band's first new track in six years. 72 Seasons arrives April 14, 2023, with a full world tour to follow.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.